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Blogger Town Hall Meeting #TypeACon 2014

The Blogger Town Hall Meeting has always been one of the highlights of the Type-A Parent Conference, and I can’t imagine it will be any different this year.

Kelby is starting us with a few announcements, but she’s getting really emotional about how much this part of the conference means to her. Soon after the conference, association.typeaparent.com will be going into public beta. Kelby asked the founding members to stand up, and I was proud to be one of them.

Next year’s Type-A Parent Conference will be right here at the Grand Hyatt Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia from October 9-11, 2015.

Instead of a second Bootcamp next year, there will be multiple but extremely small (~20 people) “super summits” in Asheville, North Carolina. “There may be wine drunk and chocolate eaten.”

This is an open mic event. Say what’s on your mind, but don’t be rude.

How do we feel about blog comment circles?

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We’re here now with Jen ReevesMelanie Nelson, and Sarah Pinnix to talk about a sometimes touchy subject in our industry: professionalism and ethics.

Professionalism and Ethics in New Media

“We don’t want to insult. We want honesty. We don’t want to point fingers…”

What Should You Consider Before You Agree on a Relationship?

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Morning Keynote: The Power of IRL | Thom Singer #TypeACon 2014

I was speaking with Thom Singer “The Conference Catalyst” briefly before his keynote began, and he told me another attendee had commented to him earlier that she was tired. He said that’s okay, because he’s going to wake us all up – hopefully in a good, non-obnoxious way. His energy level is pretty high, so hopefully that helps a crowd that has been becoming increasingly exhausted as the conference goes on. (So much to learn, so many people to see! Such limited time to do it!) Thom is working the room before speaking, so the IRL has already begun!

The Power of IRL

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Overcoming Creative Blocks | Sonja Foust #TypeACon 2014

When you’ve been writing for a while, creativity can start failing you more than it used to. (Or is that just me?) So Sonja Foust is going to help us with that today.

Overcoming Creative Blocks

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Crowdfunding | David Binkowski #TypeACon 2014

Crowdfunding is something that totally baffles me. I have been considering using it to fund my first novel. (My #gimmicknotgimmick is that the protagonist is an adult female with Asperger’s. Like me. Characters like me don’t seem to exist in adult fiction, only in YA fiction.) So that’s my personal interest in David Binkowski’s VIP session this afternoon.


Who is David Binkowski?

  • President, Large Media
  • Based in the Catskills
  • Type-A Veteran

Over the last 14 months, they have launched the largest companies through crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding Basics

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Grow Your Blog in 10 Minutes a Day | Becca Ludlum #TypeACon 2014

The afternoon is starting with Becca Ludlum‘s VIP session, where we’ve requested she tell us about all the things. You can find links to her spreadsheets and more here: http://MyCrazyGoodLife.com/Type-A-Tips

Grow Your Blog in 10 Minutes a Day

Start at the Beginning: Blog Design

  • 10 minutes = 5 items
  • Picture
  • Sidebar (if it’s not doing anything for you, take it out of your sidebar)
  • Contact info
  • About page
  • Ads
  • Check load time
  • Popups

Best way to check these things is to use incognito mode to look at your site like a visitor would.

Take 10 Minutes to Find (or Create) Support Groups

  • Close everything else and do this.
  • Support groups are huge for bloggers. This is not a comment/RT group. This is for actual support.
  • “Have any of you written a post about ____ lately? Link me!”
  • “I’m cleaning up my sidebar. Can you see if I missed anything?”

Go Old School

  • Leave blog comments
  • 10 minutes = about 5 comments
  • Comments mean so much more now because no one has time for them anymore.
  • Comments can lead to clickthrus to your site.

Optimize Previous Content

Pinnable images, better writing, and SEO

  • Repurpose old posts, use more shareable titles
  • Fix up the writing on those first posts you wrote when you got started.

Diversify Your Traffic

  • Don’t neglect SEO as a traffic source
  • Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket
  • 10 minutes = 2-3 posts
  • Yoast makes a great plug-in to help with this
  • You don’t have to optimize SEO for every post, just for the ones that will benefit from it

I’d Like to Introduce You to Buffer

Becca likes Buffer for scheduling social shares to push content. You can drag and drop old updates you’ve set up. They also make it easy to share the feeds of your favorite bloggers. It’s $10 a month.

(I prefer Sprout Social, but I have a grandfathered account. No drag and drop there though.)

Higher Level Social Sharing

  • Multiple re-pins
  • Hashtags
  • Strategic stalking
  • Share what your readers love

Pin things multiple time to the same board if it’s fast-moving. If you can’t see it by scrolling down a few times, it’s usually a decent time to re-pin. You can do testing by using different images from the post to see which ones perform better.

Doing hashtag research can help you figure out the best hashtags to promote your content. You can find the more popular hashtags you wouldn’t normally think of.

The strategic stalking thing is for brands and people you want to connect with. Add them to a Twitter list and add that list as a column on TweetDeck so that you can easily see when they tweet and reply.

Higher Education

The day you stop learning is the day you’re done blogging. Look for eBooks, podcasts, etc. to learn about current trends. Keep on top of things.

Now What?

  • Schedule your 10 minutes.
  • Make a rotation schedule. (Monday: social. Tuesday: comments. Wednesday: spreadsheet. Thursday: sidebars. Friday: schedule/share.)
  • Close any distracting programs.
  • Set a timer.
  • Make connections and grow your blog!
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This is a very popular session this morning. As Kelby just said, “Nah, I don’t like money…said no one ever.” Our speakers are Roo Ciambriello, Titania Jordan, and Kelly Whalen.

Negotiate Your Rates

“We’re all here to perfect our craft and make some money, preferably a lot of money.”

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We’re here on a sleepy Saturday morning for our Keynote Panel of Community Leaders at the 2014 Type-A Parent Conference. We’re waking up with Deb Ng, Adrianna Domingos-Lupher, Tauni Everett, and Anne Parris.

Listening online is one of the best things you can do before deciding to create a community. Watch what people are talking about, see what people are interested in, and decide how you can bring something new to the community and the conversation.

If there isn’t a place for you in the existing blogging community, you can create one. Anne tells us that is how and why she helped develop the midlife community, because the parent blogger atmosphere a few years back was all about new moms, not parents with children who are grown.

There’s a lot that goes on with business, finance, taxes, and contracts when you create a community. Start with the idea that you are going to have a team, a staff, writers, community managers, whatever. If your community gets that big and you don’t already have a plan in place for that, it’s going to be a real challenge.

It’s hard to be the bad guy. If you’re not the person to say “no,” everyone else is going to lead you down a path that does not grow your community.

You do have to listen to what your community is telling you, and you have to be able to determine what is a YES and what is a NO. Don’t be afraid to be the leader.

How do you handle your community’s “Negative Nancy?” You have to deal with it even if you don’t want to hear it. You have to make that person feel heard. Use that feedback to see if there may be something you’re not doing right, that maybe there is something you could do better. [click to continue…]

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Linda Sellers is moderating this afternoon’s panel with Kari Dilloo, Danica Kombol, and Marcy Massura, who are giving us a little more insight about things from the brand and firm perspective.

Brands plan nine months to a year out. Bloggers try to come to brands with ideas only a month ahead of time, and it’s too late to get involved. Be sure you’re working on the same time scale.

Don’t come to a brand with a “cookie cutter” idea. Let them know how you can tell your authentic story in a way that would benefit them in a partnership with you.

Agencies are trying harder now to educate the brands they work with about how bloggers work. The agencies know we don’t want to just write about a press release, and they know we want to be paid for our work. A lot of brands (and some agencies) are still having a hard time getting the hang of the way we work.

We don’t like form letters from PR firms; they also don’t like getting form letter pitches from us. When pitching a brand, start with the brand first and let them know how they would benefit and why you would be a good fit for them.

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I’ve admired Emily Vanek‘s Polyvore boards from afar, but I’m a total Polyvore amateur. I don’t think my phone pic captured her true style today, but she did point out that she matches the carpet.

How to Use Polyvore (for Fun, Traffic and Profit)

What is Polyvore

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